Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the nation. Research show that 95% of people in prison will be released, but only 1 in 3 will be arrest-free three years later, creating a cycle of incarceration that costs the state in both dollars and community safety.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that we cannot sustain this level of incarceration without a significant impact on individuals, families and entire communities. In addition, reentry intersects with a myriad of other social issues. High recidivism rates contribute to increased victimization, impacting public safety. Annual earnings are reduced by 40% for those who have a history of incarceration. Homelessness is associated with a higher risk for incarceration, and incarceration contributes to an increased risk of homelessness. Of those returning from prison, 75% have a history of substance use disorders and 24% of individuals in state prisons have a history of mental illness. Children of incarcerated parents often struggle with anxiety, depression, learning problems and aggression, making reentry a family issue. A large number of prisoners return to a small number of already disadvantaged neighborhoods making it a community issue.
In the face of these enormous challenges, Community Service Council’s Tulsa Reentry One-Stop is doing its part to break the cycle of incarceration by assisting men and women returning to Tulsa from prison along their path of reintegration. Through continued development of career pathways in high demand occupations, integrated services that enable participants to advance on the pathway leading to employment, and a myriad of support services, program participants are given a road map to successful reintegration.
This collaborative program opened in October of 2012 with a grant from the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, Reintegration of Ex-Offenders program. A multidisciplinary team of service providers, co-located at this site, provide case management, mentoring, education, skills training and workforce activities leading to employment. Participants must be referred from Department of Corrections Work Release Centers and Monitored Home Confinement and be within 9 months of release. Risk and job readiness assessments are completed and an Individual Career Plan developed. Participants are provided an array of services and supports that research has shown to be effective in reducing recidivism and promoting job readiness.
The Tulsa Reentry One-Stop assists local business with meeting their employment needs by matching program participants to their required skills and abilities. We can provide customized skills training though one of our training partners. Employment Specialists assist businesses with completing documentation for the Federal Bonding Program and Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and wage subsides can be provided during initial months of employment. Our comprehensive team supports the employer and participant for one year post placement to ensure ongoing performance and success.
A Leadership Team, which consists of representatives from the workforce system, Department of Corrections, Work Release Centers, employers, industry organizations, training providers, and service providers, are tasked with identifying and designing career pathways for in-demand industries based on participant needs, employer needs and the needs of the local community. This group meets monthly to monitor services that enable participants to get on the career pathway and advance as they acquire additional skills.
CSC’s Tulsa County Prisoner Reentry Initiative (TCPRI) planning group was organized in 2009. Frequent meetings with 42 community partners and stakeholders were conducted to discuss issues relevant to reentry and identify barriers, solutions, and opportunities for ex-offenders in Tulsa County. This ultimately led to the creation of TCPRI’s Tulsa Reentry Service Mapping Project, a visual map of services and gaps for reentry based on population (i.e. serious and violent offenders, sex offenders, the elderly, gang involved, substance abusers, etc.). This group continues to meet quarterly to coordinate services, assess trends, advocate for effective criminal justice polices, and address gaps in services and the collateral consequences of incarceration.
CSC coordinates an on-site comprehensive team of service providers from the Department of Corrections, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, Counseling and Recovery Services, Legal Aid, Union Public Schools and RSVP. Services are fully integrated using common files, common forms and a team approach. The team meets weekly to share information and coordinate services. Workforce Development partners, industry organizations and employers provide information on in-demand occupations, educate participants on specific career pathways during career exploration classes, and conduct mock interviews.
Training providers work with employers and program staff to design and deliver short-term cohort training that meets the needs of business and industry. Congregations and civic groups are involved by providing mentors and volunteers for the Reentry One-Stop participants. Many other community partners are integral to providing specialized services and support. Housing providers, veterans groups, reentry providers, mental health and substance abuse treatment providers and faith-based organizations all play a role in providing services.